Barter and the Exchange of Knowledge on the Web

Jon Udell’s recent remarks on apprenticeship and barter in the new economy generated a surge in my web traffic so I want to extend some of my remarks about the reception of his idea among the audience at SI. For one thing the STIET program at Michigan, which sponsored the Thursday talk, is particularly focused on the transactions enabled by electronic technology. A major problem with barter is the lack of information connecting traders.

Recent Reading on Knowledge Mangement

Last semester I took a class on knowledge management or information in organizations. We talked a lot about the different routines, incentives, and rewards that encourage or discourage people to share knowledge with each other. Two knowledge management professionals have posted a couple of posts that I’d like to highlight. Dave Pollard at “How to Save the World” writes about creating our own peer-to-peer expertise finder. But then it occurred to me that there is a profound difference between ‘know-what’ and ‘know-where’ on the one hand, and ‘know-who’ on the other: Finding the former are complicated search problems; finding the latter is a complex problem.

A rough stab at an "interest web"

Knowledge maps are one of those knowledge management tools that seems perfect in theory but often ends up as a disappointment or a failure. The idea is to collect all of the experience and skills in an organization into a single map, which can be an online database, a directory, or some other repository. In most maps people rate themselves on the skills they posses. The maps usually take the form of a matrix or table listing skills along one dimension and people along the other.